Posted On 11 Dec 2017
Get to know the singer, songwriter and classically trained pianist, Lara Oshon! Lara Oshon (pronounced like ‘ocean’), is best known for her signature lush vocals and rhythmic piano stylings. Her poetic lyricism, soulful delivery and playful spunk is a modern cross between Sarah McLachlan and Sara Bareilles, uniquely combining elements of Pop, Soul, Folk and Indie.
Her new single, “Phoenix Rising,” is a song about transition and born from Lara’s feelings of being trapped inside a shape that no longer fit her, and the struggle to break free from it. In addition to releasing her new single and music video, Lara has created the “Rise Up” T-Shirt as a call of action to her fans to Listen In, Speak Out and Rise Up. She wants each person to stay awake and be aware of what is going on in their own minds and with the people around them. She wants this T-Shirt to be a tangible reminder to do something small each day to be a beneficial presence in the world. 50% of proceeds will be donated to 5 non-profit campaigns that are actively working toward resolving external and internal issues, both in the U.S. and internationally.
With frequent comparisons to Karen Carpenter and Carole King, Lara’s music and voice are reminiscent of the golden era of 1970s singer-songwriters whose songs were thoughtful, classic and well-crafted. Her songs emanate a warm power that draws you inward toward them, compelling you to slow down and really listen.Lara’s authentic earthiness comes from her roots in Georgia, while her carefree spirit found its home in the California sunshine.
As a consummate artist with an eternally curious free spirit, Lara has also been a Spanish interpreter, a basketball player in Australia, an urban teaching assistant, a web designer, a communications consultant and a children’s adoption social worker.
Connect With Lara Oshon Here:
Learn more about Lara Oshon in the following All Access interview with her here:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood? What is a song you are loving these days?
I’m actually at my parents’ house in Atlanta, sitting in the room I grew up in. It’s very late so there’s no music playing, but my Dad told me earlier that he made a mix tape of Anne Murray that he wants to play me tomorrow. Now that’s a voice! Old school soul and funk always get me out of my funk. So does “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin T, “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten, “King of Anything” by Sara Bareilles, “Up and Up” by Coldplay…. I have a long list of go-to’s!
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Was there a time where you thought of doing something completely different?
I honestly never had any plans to be a musician. I started taking piano lessons when I was 8 years old and studied for twelve years, but didn’t think about music as something to pursue. It was more of a private outlet for me. As a very small child remember making up a songs and pretending the handlebars on my bike were my microphones! My career plan was to be a therapist, and I moved to Los Angeles to get my master’s degree at UCLA. I was an adoption social worker and crisis counselor, so becoming a musician in my late 20s was a big surprise to everyone!
Overall, how do you think 2017 has been for you and music career? What are you most excited about for in 2018? Do you think you will make any New Year’s Resolutions?
This has been a very big year for me personally and professionally. Completing the music video for Phoenix Rising was a significant creative project that I’m really proud of. I also had a major surgery over the summer to address a longstanding chronic health condition. I had Stage 4 Endometriosis, which created debilitating and extreme pain on a monthly basis. I have dealt with this since I was 12, so having the surgery and not being in pain any more is a new and miraculous experience for me. In terms of resolutions, I sometimes pick a word for the year as a mantra. My word for 2017 was Flow, but I’m not sure yet what next year’s will be. I am excited to feel great and have more fun in 2018!
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown and current home has affected you and your music today?
I was born in a small town called Milledgeville, GA, and my family moved to the Atlanta suburbs when I was one year old. I feel there is a warmth and soulfulness in the South that has definitely influenced me and how I write music. I grew up surrounded by trees, and as a major tomboy I spent tons of time playing outdoors. I feel very grounded in nature and it is a primary source of musical and creative inspiration for me. Since moving to Los Angeles, I still spend a lot of time at the ocean and hiking in the mountains as a way to stay in touch with my muse. Certainly the musical roots of the South – gospel, soul, R&B, the blues – these run through my spirit and are infused into my music.
Can you talk about the inspiration behind your recently released single “Phoenix Rising”? How do you think this song shows the growth you have gone through as an artist over the years?
Part of the inspiration comes from the health issue I mentioned, which is something I haven’t talked about publicly before. Being in pain that severe, persistent and unpredictable for most of my life has impacted me profoundly, and certainly informs my creativity. I don’t just love creating music, I have to create music. It is a lifeline for me and a way to deal with the things that feel impossibly hard. Both the writing and recording of Phoenix Rising, as well as the entire process of making the video were punctuated by constant bouts of extreme illness. So I deeply understand the feeling of death and rebirth, of being totally broken and rising back up. This song reflects my feeling of total vulnerability mixed with extraordinary strength. I am unstoppable.
How do you think this track prepares listeners for more music from you? When do you hope to release more songs and even a full album of new material?
I write from my life, from my experiences and questions and love and heartbreak and triumph. I often write about transition, which I think is reflected in this track. My personality is very straightforward, and so my music tends to be as well. I have plans to release a full album sometime in 2018, which I’m very excited about!
How did you come up with your “Rise Up” T-Shirt idea? Where did this call of action first stem from? What are all the different non-profits that you are going to be donating the proceeds to?
There’s a theme of overcoming in Phoenix Rising, and this is also what sparked the idea for the Rise Up t-shirt. In addition to dealing with worsening episodes of endometriosis in my personal life, the events in the world around me also seemed to be escalating in a negative way. I wanted to offer a small touchstone of action, a reminder that it’s up to each of us to be the positive change we wish to see. Cliche’ but true. I chose five charities that are effectively addressing pressing issues that matter a great deal to me: Step Up Women’s Network, Best Friends Animal Society, The Freedom Project, Americares, and Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.
What do you think of social media today and the importance of it for artists now? Do you find that it’s hard to keep up with it all?
I think most of us have a mixed relationship with social media at best – it seems necessary and sometimes fun, but is also bizarre and often narcissistic. It’s very hard to keep up with it all, but I don’t take it too seriously and mostly follow people who are doing things I admire. I look for inspiration from other creatives, and do find social media is a great way to stay connected with people. However, if all you’re doing is posting sexy selfies, I’m not interested.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these difficult times?
The role of an artist is to transform pain into art. I take all the relationships, feelings and experiences of my life, digest them, and then transform them into sounds, words and color. There’s nothing more joyful for me than that. A great song can provide context and a sense of meaning, a way to process what is happening inside of and around us. Music can reflect our worst fears and our great capacity for love, and I am drawn to music that ultimately lands on the side of hope. I believe that the arts always lead culture forward, so I want to create content that is supporting our evolving consciousness.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
My favorite contemporary singer-songwriter is Sara Bareilles. I love her writing, her voice is amazing, and I constantly come back to her music for inspiration. She has not only recorded successful albums, but she wrote a book, composed and starred in a Broadway show, and who knows what is next. I love watching her evolve, and would love to work with her some day. I would also love to work with Ed Sheeran.
What do you hope your fans take away from your music? Do you think there is a greater music in your songs?
My favorite songs take me out of my head and make me feel deeply connected to my heart, so I hope that my music does that for others. I want to meet my fans somewhere true inside of themselves.
What advice would you give to a young person who is thinking about becoming a musician one day?
Do it with your whole heart, ignore everyone who tells you you can’t, and be willing to hustle. Being a musician is a path that chooses you, but it also doesn’t mean that it’s the only thing you are. Have an identity and strength of self that isn’t defined by external success.
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
I am so grateful to all who have listened to, worked with and supported me along the way. I consider myself very lucky to keep creating and connecting with new people through my work, so thank you!